The Yankees’ bullpen blows big lead in the loss to the Blue Jays

TORONTO – In what has been a historic start to their season, the Yankees got a dose of reality on Sunday.

After taking a five-run lead to the bottom of the sixth – looking like they were going to win for a 10th straight win – the Yankees bullpen imploded as the Blue Jays roared back to win, 10-9, on Rogers Center.

The loss was just the second in the Yankees’ last 18 games.

And it came out of nowhere. Miguel Castro and Wandy Peralta both gave up big homers that changed the outcome as the Yankees handle the absence of reliable bullpen arms such as Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga, as well as the up-and-down Aroldis Chapman.

Even after Toronto scored eight runs in a row to take the lead, the Yankees got a pinch-hit homer from Anthony Rizzo in eighth and then had runners on second and third as Rizzo struck out against Jordan Romano to end the match.

Yankees' Josh Donaldson strikes a home run against the Blue Jays in the third inning of a game at Rogers Center on June 19, 2022 in Toronto.
Yankees’ Josh Donaldson strikes a home run against the Blue Jays in third inning.
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“You have to beat us,” Aaron Boone said. “They come back with some huge blows to take the lead and our guys don’t go away. … Even in a match we lost, I’m sure the other side is [saying] ‘We know we have to beat those guys.’ ”

On Sunday, that was exactly what the Blue Jays did.

A two-run shot by Josh Donaldson gave the Yankees the lead in the third, and Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres had run-scoring doubles in the fifth.

Back-to-back homers by striking Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez made it 8-3 at the top of the sixth, and although Luis Severino was not at his best, the Yankees seemed to have good control.

Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.  (13) strikes a grand slam against the Yankees in the sixth inning at Rogers Center.
Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) strikes a grand slam against the Yankees in the sixth inning.
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Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta reacts to being pulled out of the game against the Blue Jays in the seventh inning during a game at the Rogers Center on June 19, 2022 in Toronto.
Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta is reacting to being pulled out of the game against the Blue Jays in the seventh inning.
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But the game started to unravel for them at the bottom of the inning when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struck a single and Alejandro Kirk went to finish Luis Severino’s play.

Castro came in and got Teoscar Hernandez to strike out in a force out and knocked out Santiago Espinal but went from Matt Chapman to fill the bases.

After a visit by pitching coach Matt Blake, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Blue Jays life with a grand slam to reduce the Yankees’ lead to one race.

Raimel Tapia followed with a double and Wandy Peralta came and got Springer. But like Castro, Peralta faltered.

With one on and one out in the seventh, Peralta went on foot with Kirk and got another visit from Blake and again, the Blue Jays responded with a run home as Hernandez knocked one out to the center.

The three-run shot made it 10-8 to complete the unlikely comeback.

Rizzo, who beat Higashioka by one-out in the eighth, hit a solo homer on left-hander Tim Mayza, making it 10-9.

Jose Trevino then pinch hit for Joey Gallo and left.

Romano got DJ LeMahieu to second out and right-handed player knocked Aaron Judge out on a 98 mph fastball to finish the inning.

Giancarlo Stanton went with one out in the ninth, and after Gleyber Torres smoked out, Aaron Hicks hit a single, sending Stanton to third.

With Rizzo at the plate, Hicks stole second place before Rizzo fought back from 0-2 to get to a full count before grounding to second place to finish it off.

The Yankees were looking for their ninth league sweep of the year and match the best 66-game start in franchise history.

Instead, their MLB best record dropped to 49-17, and their lead in AL East dropped to 11 games over Toronto as the Yankees prepare for another series against the Rays in St. Louis. Petersburg, Fla.

“A lot of our losses are dense and a little tummy-tearing,” Rizzo said. “It’s an honor for our team. We are relentless and continue to fight to the last.”

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